Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 593–608 | Cite as

Using Action Research to Implement Selective Waste Collection Program in a Brazilian City

  • Marcella BernardoEmail author
  • Renato da Silva Lima
Original Paper


The objective of this paper is to study and report upon the elaboration of a selective waste collection program in a Brazilian city through action research; the overarching goal is that all knowledge generated may serve as a basis of information and reference to aid in decision making for similar programs globally. The municipality chosen was São Lourenço in the state of Minas Gerais. The implementation of the selective waste collection program happened over the course of multiple improvement and learning cycles, and enabled many environmental, economic and social benefits for all of the project’s stakeholders. Eighty-nine tons of potentially recycled material were sent to recycling processes rather than being disposed of in a landfill. No great difficulties were observed for the use of action research as a method, but some challenges were encountered and overcome during the whole process, due to the lack of structure and confidence on part of the population, in relation to the selective collection program. The choice for action research as the methodology and the use of improvement and learning cycles proved to increase the project’s overall efficiency, making it possible to make decisions more quickly, generating better results, and enabling replications of good decisions and correction of errors from one cycle to the next.


Urban solid waste Solid waste management Selective waste collection Action research 



The authors would like to thank CAPES, CNPq and FAPEMIG, for their financial support given to the many projects that helped develop this study.


  1. ABRELPE (2014) Brazilian association of public cleaning companies and special waste. Perspective about solid waste in Brazil. Accessed 10 Apr 2016
  2. Besen GR, Ribeiro H, Gunther WMR, Jacobi PR (2014) Selective waste collection in the São Paulo metropolitan region: impacts of the national solid waste policy. Ambiente & Sociedade 17(3):253–272. doi: 10.1590/S1414-753X2014000300015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brazil (2010). Law no. 12,305, of August 2, 2010 Establishes the National Policy for Solid Waste and provides other requirements http://wwwplanaltogovbr/ccivil_03/_ato2007-2010/2010/lei/l12305htm Accessed 11 Sept 15
  4. Bringhenti JR, Zandonade E, Günther WMR (2011) Selection and validation of indicators for programs selective collection evaluation with social inclusion. Resour Conserv Recycl 55:876–884. doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2011.04.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bufoni AL, Carvalho MS, Oliveira LB, Rosa LP (2014) The emerging issue of solid waste disposal sites emissions in developing countries: the case of Brazil. J Environ Protect 5:886–894. doi: 10.4236/jep.2014.510090 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Campos HKT (2014) Recycling in Brazil: challenges and prospects. Resour Conserv Recycl 85:130–138. doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2013.10.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carvalho MS, Rosa LP, Ferreira ACS (2011) The issue of sustainability and disclosure. A case study of selective garbage collection by the urban cleaning service of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil–COMLURB Resour Conserv Recycl 55:1030–1038. doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2011.05.015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. CEMPRE (2014a) Corporate commitment to recycling. CICLOSOFT Research http://cempreorgbr/ciclosoft/id/2 Accessed 10 Jan 16
  9. CEMPRE (2014b) CEMPRE inform number 134 March/April 2014: challenges and opportunities. http://cempreorgbr/cempre-informa/id/15/pro-catador--premio-reconhece-programas-de-coleta-seletiva-eficientes Accessed 20 Apr 16
  10. Charoen D, Raman M, Olfman L (2008) Improving end user behaviour in password utilization: an action research initiative. Syst Pract Action Res 25:55–72. doi: 10.1007/s11213-007-9082-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chaves GLD, Santos JL Jr, Rocha SMS (2014) The challenges for solid waste management in accordance with agenda 21: a Brazilian case review. Waste Manag & Res 32(9):19–31. doi: 10.1177/0734242X14541987 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coghlan D, Shani AB (2014) Creating action research quality in organization development: rigorous. Reflective and Relevant Syst Pract Action Res 27:523–536. doi: 10.1007/s11213-013-9311-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coughlan P, Coghlan D (2002) Action research for operations management. Int J Oper Prod Manag 22(2):220–240. doi: 10.1108/01443570210417515 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fagundes LD, Amorim ES, Lima RS (2017) Action research in reverse logistics for end-of-life tire recycling. Syst Pract Action Res. doi: 10.1007/s11213-016-9408-1 Google Scholar
  15. Ferri GL, Chaves GLD, Ribeiro GM (2015) Reverse logistics network for municipal solid waste management: the inclusion of waste pickers as a Brazilian legal requirement. Waste Manag 40:173–191. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2015.02.036 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Filippini R (1997) Operations management research: some reflections on evolution, models and empirical studies in OM. Int J Oper Prod Manag 17(7):655–670. doi: 10.1108/01443579710175583 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. IPEA (2010) Research Institute of Applied Economics. Research about ambiental services payment for solid waste management. Accessed 01 Dec 15
  18. Lima RMSR, Silva SMCP (2013) Evaluation of a municipal program of selective collection in the context of the national policy of solid waste. Acta Sci 35(4):645–653. doi: 10.4025/actascitechnol.v35i4.16095 Google Scholar
  19. Liu Y (2009) Implementing and evaluating performance measurement initiative in public leisure facilities: an action research project. Syst Pract Action Res 22:15–30. doi: 10.1007/s11213-008-9103-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Liu LYJ, Pan F (2007) The implementation of activity-based costing in China: an innovation action research approach. The Br Rev 39:249–264. doi: 10.1016/ CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mapa SMS, Lima RS (2012) Combining geographic information systems for transportation and mixed integer linear programming in location-allocation problems. Gest Prod 19:119–136. doi: 10.4236/jsea.2014.710076 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mello CHP, Turrioni JB, Xavier AF, Campos DF (2012) Action research in production engineering: a structure proposal for its conduction. Production 22(1):1–13. doi: 10.1590/S0103-65132011005000056 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Paes CE, Bernardo M, Lima RS, Leal F (2016) Management of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Brazilian public education institutions: implementation through action research on a university campus. Syst Pract Action Res. doi: 10.1007/s11213-016-9399-y Google Scholar
  24. Rada EC, Ragazzi M, Fredizzi P (2013) Web-GIS oriented system viability for municipal solid waste selective collection optimization in developed and transient economies. Waste Manag 33:785–792. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2013.01.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rutkowski JE, Rutkowski EW (2015) Expanding worldwide urban solid waste recycling: the Brazilian social technology in waste pickers inclusion. Waste Manag Res 33(12):1084–1093. doi: 10.1177/0734242X15607424 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. SNIS (2013) National System of sanitation information. Diagnostic about urban solid waste management. Accessed 10 Feb 2016
  27. Tepe S, Haslett T (2002) Occupational health and safety systems, corporate governance and viable systems diagnosis: an action research approach. Syst Pract Action Res 15(6):509–522. doi: 10.1023/A:1021064704360 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Toso EAV, Alem D (2014) Effective location models for sorting recyclables in public management. Eur J of Oper Res 234(3):839–860. doi: 10.1016/j.ejor.2013.10.035 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Westbrook R (1995) Action research: a new paradigm for research in production and operations management. Int J Oper Prod Manag 15(12):6–20. doi: 10.1108/01443579510104466 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zsigraiova Z, Semiao V, Beijoco F (2013) Operation costs and pollutant emissions reduction by definition of new collection scheduling and optimization of MSW collection routes using GIS. The case study of Barreiro, Portugal. Waste Manag 33:793–806. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2012.11.015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik GmbH (BIBA)Universität BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.Industrial Engineering and Management Institute (IEPG)Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI)ItajubáBrazil

Personalised recommendations